Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Thirsty ?

Psalm 36:7-9

How precious is Your lovingkindness O God and children of men take refuge in the shadow of Your wings.
They drink their fill of the abundance of Your house and You give them to drink of the river of Your delights.
For with You is the fountain of life and in Your light we see light.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

dreaming of manure

Constantly we find ourselves slipping into bitterness and apathy and gloom as we reflect on them ( past disappointments and present heartbreaks) which we frequently do. The attitude we show to the world is a sort of dried up stoicism, miles removed from the “unspeakable joy” which Peter wrote about ( I Peter 1:8). “Poor souls, “ our friends say of us, “how they’ve suffered.” And that is just what we feel about ourselves !

But these private mock heroics have no place at all in the minds of those who really know God. They never brood on might – have – beens ; they never think of the things they have missed, only of what they have gained.

“ But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ, “ wrote Paul. “ What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him… I want to know Christ ( Philippians 3:7-10). When Paul says he counts the things he lost rubbish, or “dung” ( KJV), he means not merely that he does not think of them as having any value, but also that he does not live with them constantly in his mind: what normal person spends his time nostalgically dreaming of manure ? Yet this, in effect, is what many of us do. It shows how little we have in the way of true knowledge of God.

( page 25 Knowing God J.I. Packer)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

words from another century

JC Ryle was a pastor in Liverpool in the 1800's and wrote a book called Holiness. I pulled this off the shelf recently and just found some statements that I thought might contribute to our spiritual growth.

Here are some free samples: ( sort of like Sam's club -- but for your brain)

Page 75 " A single day in hell will be worse than a whole life spent carrying the cross."

page 67 " But it does cost something to be a real Christian, according to the standard of the Bible. There are enemies to be overcome, battles to be fought, sacrifices to be made, an Egypt to be forsaken, a wilderness to be passed through, a cross to be carried, a race to be run. Conversion is not putting a man in an armchair and taking him easily to heaven. It is the beginning of a mighty conflict, in which it costs much to win the victory. Hence, arises the unspeakable importance of counting the cost."

page 20 : " True holiness does not consist merely of believing and feeling, but of doing and bearing, a practical exhibition of active and passive grace. Our tongues, our tempers, our natural passions and inclinations; our conduct as parents and children, masters and servants, husbands and wives, rulers and subjects; our dress, our employment of time, our behavior in business, our demeanor in sickness and health, in riches and in poverty ---all these matters which are fully treated by inspired writers. "

same section: " True holiness, we surely ought to remember, does not merely consist of inward sensations and impressions. It is much more than tears and sighs and bodily excitement and a quickened pulse and a passionate feeling of attachment to our favorite preachers and our own religious party and a readiness to quarrel with everyone who does not agree with us. It is something of the 'image of Christ' which can be observed and seen by others. It is something that would be demonstrated by our private lives and character. "

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

blood pressure medication or prayer ?

I found myself getting angry the other day. I was reminded by the word of God that he who has been merciless will be shown no mercy. It does seem like at times that no matter how well you are prepared for the day, your faith will be tested and your patience will be tried. In my reading I came across this and wanted to reprint it for whom it may concern:

“ What gives so much force to the impulse of anger is the overwhelming sense that the offender does not deserve forgiveness. That is, the grievance is so deep and so justifiable ( in our minds) that not only does self righteousness strengthen our indignation, but so does a legitimate sense of moral outrage. It’s the deep sense of legitimacy that gives our bitterness its unbending compulsion. We feel that a great crime would be committed if the magnitude of the evil we’ve experienced were just dropped and we let bygones by bygones. We are torn: our moral sense says this evil cannot be ignored and the word of God says we must forgive.” ( Faith in Future Grace page 265)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

wisdom from the 1600's

Richard Baxter wrote these words:

" Let not your first opinions, about the controverted difficulties in religion, where Scripture is not very plain, be too peremptory, confident or fixed; but hold them modestly with a due suspicion of your unripe understandings, and with room for further information, supposing it possible, or probable, that upon better instruction, evidence and maturity, you may, in such things, change your minds."

A Christian directory page 49

I was struck by the idea that some of our ideas are not ripe and need time to mature. I needed this exhortation from another century today.

Monday, April 25, 2011

persistence in prayer

Jesus said: " For everyone who asks, receives and he who seeks, finds, and to him who knocks, it will be opened. "
( Matthew 7:7 ff)

I stumbled across this paragraph:

" ...His point seems to be that the secret of prayer is persistence. Keep at it, keep speaking, and even if nothing comes, speak again and again. And finally the answer is given. It may not be the kind of answer we want - the kind of stopgap peace and the kind of easy security, the kind of end to loneliness that we are apt to pray for. Christ never promises peace in the sense of no more struggle and suffering. Instead, He helps us to struggle and suffer as He did, in love, for one another. Christ does not give us security in the sense of something in this world, some cause, some principle, some value, which is forever. Instead, He tells us that there is nothing in this world that is forever, all flesh is grass. He does not promise us unlonely lives. Instead of all these, the answer He gives, is Himself. If we go to Him for anything else, He may send us away empty or He may not. But if we go to Him for Himself, I believe that we go away always with this deepest of all our hungers filled."

( adapted from Frederick Buechner Listening to your life page 132)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Thoughts on laziness: “ Does then the sluggard disappoint and provoke his earthly master ? See that we be not such sluggards to our heavenly Master. Laodicean professors are specially hateful in his sight ( Rev 3:16). The slothful minister carries in a tremendous account to him that has sent him. No more pitiable object is found, than the man who has time to spare; who has no object of commanding interest; and is going on to the end, as if he had spent his whole life in children’s play, and had lived for no useful purpose. He may probably have given out a portion of his time for some miscalled religious duty. But he might as well be asleep as on his knees; in idleness as in meditation – so little pains – so little heart is connected with his duties ! “ I found this phrase particularly pointed: ( No object of commanding interest, and is going on to the end, as if he had spent his whole life in children’s play and had lived for no useful purpose.) He continues: “ There is indeed no higher blessing than usefulness; no more affecting lamentation than that of the wornout labourer, who is conscious that his usefulness is ended. But the slothful is satisfied, that his usefulness should never begin. He is content with a life of utter uselessness. He willfully gives himself up to it; as if indolence was his supreme good, and every kind of exercise the object of his shrinking dread. Such a life can never approve itself to conscience, and assuredly will never escape the condemnation of God. It is poverty to himself. He becomes his own enemy. The springs of solid happiness are impoverished, and the true end of life frittered away. Let us look at the sluggard: time, talents, and opportunities have been given graciously to him, perhaps a godly education and every encouragement for hopefully promise. But if diligence is needed; if the man must labor and strive then his field must be left for the present time. He needs a little more sleep first. And thus he sleeps on, and shuts both eyes and ears against every disturbance of his fatal slumber. Nothing is done or attempted for God, for his own soul, or for his fellow creatures. His vineyard is left open. All his good purposes are the stone wall broken down. Satan goes out and comes in at will. All is devastation and ruin.” ( page 461) Charles Bridges ( commentary on Proverbs Banner of Truth publishing)